There is a dramatic opening scene in the academy award winning movie “Dances With Wolves” that has always left an indelible impression on me. The main character played by Kevin Costner has lost his will to fight during a bloody civil war battle. He mounts his horse and rides across the battlefield directly in front of the Confederate lines, daring them to take his life. In doing so, amidst the hail of shots, in full gallop he drops the bridle reigns (purposeful switch), tilts his head back and opens his arms to the heavens as if to say, “This is it. I have no control and I am ready!.”
If you have ever ridden a horse, you know it takes a great deal of confidence or a complete lack of regard for your life to drop the reins in a wide open environment and let the horse go wherever it wants at a full gallop. Most riders stay in firm control of the reins at all times because that’s the instrument whereby you guide the movement of the horse. It takes years of practice to learn how to effectively control a horse with reins to get the result you want and once you have it, you certainly don’t want to let go!
This incredible scene has stayed with me because I see the parallels to my own life in terms of control. If you are like me, you have spent years trying to corral the reins of your life–countless amounts of energy spent trying to get a grasp on all the little variables and details of life so we might exercise some control over the direction. Over time, we convince ourselves that we have taken ahold of the reins in such a way that we are in firm control. Then, when life takes a sudden unexpected turn, we find ourselves violently thrown to the ground, lying there covered in dirt wondering how could we get thrown so badly when we were in control.
If this sounds familiar, then it’s important to remember the only way to truly get in control of our lives is to drop the reins and ride with God. Psalms 46:10 tells us to “cease striving and know that I am God.” In other words, we have to give up control over the reins in our life and accept God’s will. We do this not in futility, but in full acceptance and faith that God’s control over our lives will guide us farther and better than that which we can do on our own. Proverbs tell us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all ways acknowledge God, and God will make your paths straight.”
If you have seen the movie you know that the main character’s surrender of control is the key to his salvation. The same is true for us. All things are possible when we let go of the reins and accept God’s reign!